“Why are you so thin? You need to eat. Are you sure you are fine? You look unhealthy, I am really worried about you.
Why are you so unapproachable? You look really mean. You are not humble, why else do you would you not interact with others.
Why is your voice so loud? You need to calm down. You are too passionate.
Why do you never go out? You should meet and interact with people. You cannot spend the rest of your life indoors, or taking care of others*. Get a life.
Why would you settle for less than best? You are smart, you need to always be at the top of your game. You cannot afford to fail.
Life is give and take.”
For the past decade (or even more), I have heard these things directly and indirectly (and a lot more). Most of them managed to be ingrained in my thoughts and as you’d expect from a child, they had an impact on my self-perception. Not all of them were bad, but a bulk of these were certainly not beneficial in any way.
Here I am, in my twenties, writing this piece on a Friday evening, because it occurred to me how many things I actually used to hate about myself.
It was a whole lot.
I don’t think this will make a “sensible” post, and I don’t plan on making it so. I’m just going to write about random memories and moments where I might have unknowingly developed the habit of self-hating.
2008 – 2014
I started secondary school at the age of 8 and although I cannot remember what I thought of myself back then, I remember things from age 10 upwards.
How I used to have eczema but did not think it was a big deal until a classmate pointed it out. I might not have been able to name it then but I think it made me super self-conscious. I remember starting to notice it even more and eventually finding some topical medication to treat it. This was just a start though.
I have been “thin” for most of my life and as such, there was always a comment to deal with. Some of these comments were “harmless”, but when you constantly hear things, they unconsciously take root in your mind and you also start to notice and dislike your “flaws”. That was not a good thing.
I also remember the “boy scandal” I put myself in; it was really just naivety and it’s still so ridiculous to think about. However, I guess school became tough for me at that time. It felt like a lot of colleagues hated me as a result and that must have really disturbed me. Of course, I tried to be tough, be “unfazed” because that was my only coping mechanism.
I was just 11.
It continued till I was 14 and but by then, it had become easier. In fact, I had taken comfort in being “hated” because that made people avoid me and I preferred that. Besides, I also finally had a small circle of friends (yes, you JETS class people 😂)and that was enough for me.
2015 – Present
Fast forward to university life and I was happy to be in a new environment. I could shape who I wanted to be in the future; I had a bright one ahead of me!
There was a catch though; the walls were already up. I had unknowingly conditioned myself to believe that “people would always hate me“, and I was even fine with it. Some of my friends from secondary school were in the same school so I “had all I needed“. Well, that only made it harder to realise I was actually spiralling.
I did my best to make new friends though. A part of me must have really wanted new people to not hate me, because it did not occur to me that I was not “a problem”. I just had to be the best I could be and people had to see it too. Almost like I believed that if they could see the truth, I’d not be so hated.
Although I met some awesome people and some of them are still in my circle till now, it did not take long for things to start brewing up again.
Recommended Read: Words That Give Me Peace These Days
For many reasons, most of which I do not even know, I became the “proud, unapproachable girl” in the class again. As expected, I had my coping mechanisms but when you are young, you absorb a lot of things and it can mess with your head.
There’s no pretty way to put it; it just messes you up.
Of course, I was not the best version of myself then; I was in my teenage years. However, I was most certainly not terrible enough to deserve all I had to cope with. I try my best to not diminish a lived experience but one might wonder if it was really all in my head.
I know I did too.
From an extremely positive perspective, it might not necessarily have been hate. A large chunk of it might have been because these opinions were already planted in my subconscious. I am well aware of that possibility and I do not rule it out either.
However, this will not excuse all of you that had those awful perceptions of me. If you somehow stumble across this piece, I want you to know that you were terrible humans and you had absolutely no reason being so cruel.
You do not know what people go through every single day and I hope life has taught you to be more empathetic and less judgemental. Or at least you have become better human beings.
There was also this one time I was bullied online by some “female Northerners” and well, that was scary. And shitty. But also really stupid because how can humans be so vile?
There were several other crazy moments and I was officially messed up from a lot of things 😂.
A Better Perception
A silver lining though, is that you get to a point where those opinions don’t have a real impact anymore. You are still aware of them, yes, but you have a better grasp of who you are (or at least, who you are not).
All I can say though, is Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah for making it this far, and for my current state of mind. My current self perception.
I might not be where I deserve to be, but I look at myself from a kinder lens now.
And it’s heartwarming to witness.
The Good Parts
Also, it was definitely not all bad. I remember the lovely moments too; good times with friends, the nice warm feeling of liking people, the fulfilment of getting good grades, the fun moments with some of my favourite teachers. I also made more happy memories in university, and they were some of the best times of my life.
I guess that’s just how life is; you intentionally teach yourself to appreciate the good times whilst also embracing the awful ones.
They are all a part of you and they make you who you are today.
You just need to keep growing – in every way.
You got this!❤️